JEN SAMSON | SHOE DESIGNER

The Samson household is filled with all kinds of spirit.  Every time we turned around these girls were laughing up something new; jumping on the bed, passing the karaoke mic or playing dress-up….which was slightly expected seeing that Jen Samson is the leader of this gang.  With her fun, cool and daring attitude Jen, mum to Ruby and Stella, believes the most effective way to mother is to lead by example…and let’s just say that these girls are learning from a pro.  When she’s not keeping up with her mini-mes, she’s busy building her beautiful shoe brand Painted Bird.  Here, Jen graciously invites us in to get a taste what it’s like to be a Samson girl.

5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE RUBY?

Ruby is passionate, unique, magnetic, precocious, and fun.

5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE STELLA?

…. sassy, silly, perceptive, adorable and a lover.

Playing dress up is guaranteed fun for my girls which is probably why we have an overflowing box of who-knows-whats for them to play with.  Lately they are obsessed with items from my own closet.  Especially pieces that are sentimental and precious to me like my grandmother’s fur coats.  Next week they may be ninjas carrying swords and wearing masks…you just never know with these two, they keep me on my toes.

I’m rather eclectic which is reflected in my closet as well as with my home design.  Our house is a mix of Palm Springs mid century, a nice dose of bohemian, Asian and a bit of Palm Beach swirled in there.  You see what i mean…eclectic!  I strive for an uncluttered open space that feels both fun and fancy at the same time.  I like to incorporate color and pattern, and for my own home–it’s all about buying what I love, regardless of style, and making it work.

FAVORITE PLACE TO SHOP FOR THE HOME?

Heirloom Decor is filled with beautiful vintage gems, Jonathan Adler for playful pieces and I love One Kings Lane’s curated sales for unique little finds.  Last but not least, unassuming thrift stores for pieces that are waiting to be reinvented.

Photo by Jesse Meyer

Photo by Jesse Meyer

 I scored our dining table at a random thrift store and had it refinished in a high gloss lacquer.  

Photo by Jesse Meyer

ADVICE WHEN PURCHASING PIECES FOR YOUR HOME…

Fill your home with pieces that speak about who you are, and don’t be afraid to take risks.  Nothing is permanent.  Start with one particular piece that you love…be it a rug, a piece of art, a pillow and build the space around it.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN LAGUNA BEACH?

Aside from the beach, I love that we are surrounded by so many creative types.  This little town by the sea has a history and reputation for introducing and appreciating art in every form.  A favorite date night for us is grabbing dinner and drinks and perusing the galleries during Art Walk Thursdays.

EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE…

a decent sound system or one way or another to play music and bring a light and cheery mood into the home, I’m obsessed with our Sonos.

I saw something similar to this at the Children’s Museum in Pheonix, AZ. Then I stumbled upon a wire branch sculpture at a local vintage store.  I had a Japanese teacher from the girls school make the origami birds for me.  I attached the birds, intertwined some twinkle lights, mounted it to the ceiling and voilà! The good night “wishing tree” was born and is now shared by both Ruby and Stella. On a side note – I adore twinkle lights for their soft dreamy soft glow and think they make a perfect “nightlight” to any space.  

MOTHERHOOD HAS TAUGHT ME…

To pick my battles.  School clothes for example, use to be an exhausting battle but I finally set them (and me!) free to wear what they wish, how they wish.  Now, they both rock some serious individual style that I am often completely in awe of.  And then there are other silly things, like the enormous bear that was “gifted” to us a few years ago.  He sits in our rather small playroom taking up a rather enormous amount of space that I could find a dozen other uses for. His name is Stillwater (aptly named after the enormous bear in the beautiful book Zen Shorts) and you’d better believe he’ll be around for a very, very, very long time.

Photo by Jesse Meyer

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

I’m all about a mix of high/low.  I love scouring for vintage finds to mix in with current pieces.  I never miss the LA Vintage Expo every October and May.  It fills my soul to search and find fab pieces mainly from the 60’s and 70’s.  Somehow I almost always return with at least one caftan, a pair of sunglasses and a dress that I patiently wait for the perfect event to finally debut.

Photo by Jesse Meyer

Photo by Jesse Meyer

3 STAPLE PIECES EVERY WOMEN NEEDS IN HER CLOSET?

  1. Jewelry– I love a statement piece be it a shoulder dusting earring, large cocktail ring or a long, thin gold chain.
  2. I’ve always loved nightgowns of all sorts and I think every woman should have at least one that is as comfortable as it is chic.  Something that can be worn to run and grab the paper or lounge around the home with friends and family.
  3. Painted Birds (of course)
Photo by Jesse Meyer

Photo by Jesse Meyer

SPEAKING OF WHICH TELL US ABOUT PAINTED BIRD?

When my dear friend and wonderful business partner Nicole and I discovered these beautiful crocheted shoes, the idea immediately spoke to us.  Being able to create something that is truly unique and practical (since we are running around after our kiddos most of the day) is incredibly inspiring. Painted Bird’s are the perfect merger of a ballet flat and an espadrille. We believe that every woman deserves a beautiful flat that is both chic and undeniably comfortable, and Painted Bird shoes epitomize both.  It’s been a bit of a roller coaster but we have been blessed to see our company grow faster than we ever expected.

BEST & WORST PART OF OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

Quite honestly, it probably comes down to teaming up with a like-minded business partner.  We both agreed that our families and friendship always come first, and with that said I really appreciate the support we share for not only starting a business but also being mothers.  I love my partner, I love our product, I love that my girls see their mum building an awesome business right out of our garage.  On the flip side,  juggling motherhood and a business has left little to no time for my other love; interior design.

ANY TIPS ON JUGGLING MOTHERHOOD AND OWNING A BUSINESS?

I used to think multi-tasking was the key to good parenting. But I’ve realized as my girls have grown and my business has grown, balance for me comes best with singular focus.  A good way to stay present and keep me accountable is to make eye contact with my girls when they need me, or anyone else for that matter.  I set aside time to work, and I set aside time to engage my girls.

RUBY, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR MOM?

“Hmmmm…That she reads with me a lot and snuggles with me!  Oh and one more thing, that we do art together.”

 

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D LIKE TO PASS ON ABOUT MOTHERHOOD?

Always let your children be the first pull away from a hug. Hold them in your arms until the moment they decide it’s time to let go.  Fully embracing them creates a sense of love, support and creates a lasting bond. Those are the moments I don’t ever want to miss.

  • http://cityofglossangeles.com Courtney K.

    I remember thinking when I knew Jen that she must have a great mom. I still think that – and now she’s one herself!